Charlie Harper had been swimming upstream with his band the U.K. Subs for three years before 1979's Another Kind of Blues finally broke through on the British charts, leading a second wave of punk as many of the original English punk acts were burning out. By 1981, the U.K. punk scene seemed to be running on fumes, and while the U.K. Subs weren't about to let anything stop them, their third album, Diminished Responsibility, suggested they knew they had to keep up with the times. The stylized cover artwork suggested someone at their record company was trying to pass Harper and company off as a new romantic act, and the keyboards on "Party in Paris" and the clean lines of "Gangster" made it sound as if someone was hoping to put a bit of polish on the band in hopes of generating a radio single. But thankfully, most of Diminished Responsibility finds the U.K. Subs sounding and acting just like themselves; Harper bellows and rants, Nicky Garratt pumps out big, noisy guitar chords, Alvin Gibbs dependably holds down the low end, and Steve Roberts indefatigably pounds out the beat. In short, you can't tell the book by looking at the cover -- this may look like a commercial sellout move by the U.K. Subs, but it's actually full of fast loud fury and working-class rage, just the way you like it (or at least the way the average U.K. Subs fan likes it). By the way, those seemingly sellout-worthy keyboards? Most of them were being played by Captain Sensible of the Damned. Clever move, Charlie, very clever.
AllMusic Review by Mark Deming